Since the X century in the Italian Peninsula there were artisan businesses, family run workshops where apprentices learned tricks of the trade in order to become professional. Wool, leather, marble, wood, iron artisans who worked for local markets and for exportations became, during the centuries, excellences in their fields that culminated in the XIV century extraordinary artistic production (frescos, sculptures, tapestries) featuring the high quality decoration of cathedrals, churches, and private palazzos.
The richness of Italian handicraft has always coincided, since the Middle-ages, with the presence of Maestranze, these workshops of high qualified artisans called as workforce for specific artistic and architectural achievements. The concern with detail has always been the result of the deep trade knowledge, combined with the finest manual skills.
In a conscious or unconscious way, this is the inescapable background for today Italian contemporary artists and designers. The centuries long care for details and the passionate research for the possibilities of a material recur in different ways, in the work of Riccardo Beretta, Duilio Forte, Maria Christina Hamel and Mauro Patrini. In their creations the ancient handicraft practices are the base for the shaping of new meanings casting the future. Irina Zucca Alessandrelli